Wednesday, April 29, 2015

TCMFF 2015 – Post Partum

In theory, this should be a short post. In practice, I'm not sure I am capable of doing a short posts. This basically covers the Monday after the TCM Classic Film Festival (TCMFF), give or take. We got up fairly early, because I wanted to go to Amoeba Records before we headed back to San Diego by train. I had to be back at work the next day, so I didn't want to get back too late. We packed and went downstairs and then checked out and left our bags at the bell desk.

My daughter Jasmine wanted to go to Hot Topic in the Hollywood and Highland mall. I figured she's 15 and you can't take a 15-year-old passed a Hot Topic like a hundred times and not have her want to go in. While she browsed, I went to Starbucks for coffee and breakfast for the two of us. The timing worked out about perfect, because she was done right about the time I got out of Starbucks.

Amoeba Records was probably about a 20 minute walk from Hollywood and Highland. I wanted to get there close to 11:00 when it opened. We missed that by about a 40 minutes. If you're not familiar with Amoeba Records, the building takes up a whole block and about 90% of the ground floor is CDs. There's also an upstairs with DVDs and to be honest, I'm afraid to even look. As it is, I end up spending way too much from just the short time we had there. Jasmine loves music, but for the most part grew up in a world without record stores. Now, that's not really true. There are a handful of record stores in San Diego, but they are small little hole-in-the-wall places, which despite their tiny size still manage to beat the pants off the other option, the ever-shrinking CD section in the big-box stores like Target and Best Buy. I told her that Amoeba Records was big, but I don't think she was at all prepared for what she saw:

Jasmine's reaction to Amoeba Records. That
would be the look of terror of joy

We only spent about an hour in Amoeba Records. My only regret is that I didn't bring a list with me. I know I bought at least one, but possibly as many as three CDs I already owned, but at least they were all things I knew I would never find in San Diego.

In the morning as we left, they had closed off part of Hollywood Blvd and put up fences to keep people off the street but we had no idea why. On our way back to the Roosevelt, we got our answer. Two guys passed us wearing what looked like backstage passes around their necks with the Van Halen logo. There you go. We got our bags from the bell desk and headed out to catch the L.A. Metro to Union Station for the train back to San Diego.

Coming up on The Roosevelt from Sunset Blvd.
I decided to get one last picture of Hollywood Blvd. In the lower right, you can see the fence for the Van Halen concert. 

Goodbye, Hollywood Blvd. We'll miss your
cheesy goodness, well, no, not really. 

What I hadn't intended was catching Freddy Krueger on his cell phone.

Freddy Krueger checking his phone, though
possibly he could be using some dream 
monitoring app, could happen

It turned out the L.A. Metro was closed. I'm not sure what happened. All I know is that there were a lot of cops in the station. We went down Highland to find a spot to call and wait for a cab out of the sun. The front of Hollywood High School was about a block and a half away, and that seemed to be as good a spot as any. Before we got there I managed to flag down a cab that was going passed. I wasn't sure how bad the cab ride would be, but at that point, we didn't have a lot of choice. Earlier I had tweeted that picture of Jasmine at Amoeba, and while we were in the cab, Kristen (@salesonfilm
) responded using a #JasminesFanClub hastag. Jasmine was very happy to have been hashtagged, "Oooh, I feel famous." That cab was about $25. I expected worse, although with tip it came to about double what it would have cost on the Metro.

We got tickets for the first available train to San Diego which was leaving in about 50 minutes. The difference in cost between regular tickets and business class is fairly minor, so I sprung for the extra. It turns out they had a business class lounge, where we could wait. We grabbed some food. I looked at Twitter and saw something from Jeff (@jlundenberger) that he and his partner had taken the Metro to Olvera Street. Looking at the timestamp, they must have got on the Metro station right before they closed it down. Olvera Street is like spitting distance from Union Station, but I figured we didn't have time to didn't have time to meet up with them. Still, I felt obligated to give them crap:

In the Business Class lounge, the woman at the desk at asked us if we wanted a Red Cap to help us to the train. At first, I thought it wasn't worth the trouble, but then realized the connection to North by Northwest and figured that alone justified the cost of the tip. It turns out the Red Cap was a mid-forty-ish woman in a polo shirt and a red baseball cap, who bore virtually no resemblance to Cary Grant. Still, it was a way to maintain the connection to the old movies I was leaving behind, so it was a good call. 

The trip home on the train was fairly uneventful. Jasmine and I talked a little bit, but we were both too exhausted to say much of anything. We mostly just listened to music on our phones and enjoyed the scenery.

I know that at one point the guy sitting across from us got up and  came back with a bottle of Stone Ale. I remember thinking I could really go for a beer, but I didn't have the energy to get up and go to the bar. It was all the way downstairs in the same car I was sitting in. 

I texted my wife when we were about 5 minutes out from the Santa Fe depot in Downtown San Diego. We live really close to Downtown, so she would get down there about the same time we could get to the front of the station. She'd already left, and by the time we made it out, she'd found parking about a block away, a minor miracle in that part of town.

I got home and made my second to last tweet of TCMFF:

I little while later I made my last tweet of TCMFF 2015:

I do want to take this opportunity to thank TCM, and in particular Shannon and Noralil, for having Jasmine and me as Social Media Producers. We had a great time. We would have had a great time anyway, but that made it all the more special. Thank you. We had a blast.


Post script

I had to go to work the Tuesday after TCMFF ended, not a good idea, but I didn't have enough vacation time to take any more days off. I got out of work at about six o:clock and fortunately traffic was better than usual on the way home. I got home by about 6:30. This is what I found:

Jasmine, TCM's youngest Social Media Producer,
gone into hibernation mode.

Monday, April 27, 2015

TCMFF 2015 – Day 4

Sunday at the TCM Classic Film Festival (TCMFF) started much like the rest, Social Media Producer's meeting first thing in the morning. TCMFF had been trending all day both Friday and Saturday, and it turned out we would trend all day Sunday as well. Woohoo! Shannon, Noralil's boss, had got her one of those Oscar statues in celebration, and they wanted us to do videos of our acceptance speech. I ended up doing one later that day, but I just watched it, and I really look like a doofus, more so than normal, so I don't think I'll be posting it.

First up Sunday morning was Nightmare Alley at the TCL Chinese, but as we were waiting managed to wrangle one of the other Social Media Producers, Marya (@oldfilmsflicker) for a video. Her answer to who would win in a gunfight, Clint Eastwood's man with no name from the Sergio Leone films or the Waco Kid from Blazing Saddles was just awesome:

In line for Nightmare Alley, we got someone to take a picture of my 15-year-old daughter Jasmine and me:

Jazzy and me
Inside the theater, we ended up sitting with Casey (@NoirGirl) and Joel (@joelrwilliams1:

Casey, Joel, and me

"Don't look down on people who haven't seen a film you
think they should have. Just be happy for them that they
get to see it for the first time." Eddie Muller, from intro to
Nightmare AlleyPhotographer: Edward M. Pio Roda.
™ & © 2015 Turner Classic Movies. A Time Warner
Company. All Rights Reserved. Used with permission.
The intro from Eddie Muller was great. This was the film that Tyrone Power wanted to make. It was a chance for him to break away from his handsome leading man image and play a character with real depth. Power plays Stan Carlisle a carnival barker who gets involved in a mind-reading confidence scheme and sees the opportunity to take it to the big time. The story is so well known among the spiritualism subculture that his character name is now used to mean con somebody with a fake mysticism act, much in the same way people use Gaslight to mean systematically drive insane, "Hey man, don't Stan Carlisle me." He also called it one of the most depressing movies he's ever seen. I don't know if would go that far. Then, when I try to think of a movie that is more depressing, nothing is coming to me. I'm not going to spoil anything for people who haven't seen it, but if it had ended about 2 minutes earlier, then it would have been almost unbearable. As it was, it was it was still pretty darn depressing. 

Of course, Jasmine loved it, and it was her favorite film of the weekend. I loved it too, but if I had to pick my top film for the weekend, I would give the nod to Too Late for Tears. Her TCMFF15YO came off more snarky than it probably should have been. All I know is that when I ordered the Nightmare Alley on DVD last week, she snatched it away so fast, I think she took my fingerprints with her. 

Jasmine's #TCMFF15YO twitter review of Nightmare Alley:

Was a NIGHTMARE of a good time! HA HA ha...can't all be winners folks

After the screening we got an interview with Joel. I seem to remember he was in a hurry, so I cut it a little bit short: 

We also met Kelvin from Santa Fe, who comes to us by way Yorkshire, England. At this point, I was starting to feel kind of punchy and that might have motivated the odd question I asked him at the end of the video.

Jasmine also recorded a #HeartMovies video. She talks about the movie that started her off with classic film (the first movie I got her to watch all the way through on TCM, trust me, I tried a bunch of times before hitting the right one), City Lights. She also talks about The Fifth Element, which is three years older than she is and to her is just as much a classic film as City Lights:

I also took the time to record a second #HeartMovies  video. This time I talked about watching old movies as a kid and something that happened when we were live tweeting the film Lifeboat on #TCMParty:

Next up was Desk Set. Now, this film is a huge favorite of mine. It's one of the maybe half a dozen classic films that I go to when I'm bored and just want of have something on. I've probably watched it 20 or 30 times, and keep coming back to it 3 or 4 times a year. We ended up sitting with Ariel (@Sinaphile) and Marya (who had never seen it before):

Jasmine, Me, Ariel, and Marya

I think Ariel was kind of excited to see it too
To say that this was high on my list is a bit of an understatement. It is such a fun movie, and I think if I had to sit down, and come up with my top Tracy/Hepburn movies, I think Desk Set would probably win, although both Adam's Rib and Guess Who's Coming to Dinner would be in the running. The intro was by Tara MacNamara. To be honest, at this point in the festival, everything was kind of a blur. All I know is that the movie was fun. Jasmine said, it was way cute. I'm thinking I might even need to go out and find an mp3 of that, woop woop a doo sound the computer makes to use as a ringtone on my phone.

Marya said it was okay, which I still find a bit strange, but everybody to their own taste. All I know was the rest of us loved it.

Jasmine's #TCMFF15YO twitter review of Desk Set:

It saddens me that people need to be told names of Santa's reindeer 20 times in same movie

Between Desk Set and the next movie The Philadelphia Story, we went back to the hotel, so I could change for the evening. Okay, I'm a clothes horse. Shoot me. The intro to The Philadelphia Story was an interview of Madeleine Stowe by Illeana Douglas. I had to point out to Jasmine, you know that's the woman, from 12 Monkeys. "Oh, yeah, it is. Cool." I honestly don't remember a lot about what Stowe said, but the gist was just how much she loved the movie and others of its ilk, which in a way is better. I mean, it's one thing to say something profound or pull out some little tidbit that most people don't know, but it's another to show honest affection for the work that is direct and straight from the heart. I think I got that more from Madeleine Stowe than anyone else this year.

The film was great as expected. If I had to pick one film and say this is the ultimate Screwball Comedy, this would be it. I love basically everything about this movie. Good story, witty dialog, and great performances by virtually everyone in the cast, from the main stars all the way down to John Halliday and Mary Nash. The subplots are interesting and stick together as well as the main plots in most other movies. To say that Cary Grant, Katherine Hepburn, Jame Stewart, and Ruth Hussey all give the performance of a lifetime would be an overstatement, but only because they all had such great careers. They did all bring their A game, and it's just great to see them bounce off each other. Roland Young as the lecherous Uncle Willy, that just might be the performance of a lifetime. The same could be said for Virginia Wiedler as well. Coming on the heels of Desk Set, I almost thought I was going to break my face from laughing. Jasmine said she thought it was okay, but I think it was just that at that point, she was just done for the weekend. Even if you count Return of the Dream Machine as one movie, instead of the 9 that they showed, that's still 12 movies in three and a half days, and we still had one to go. I think that colored her view of The Philadelphia Story.

Jasmine's #TCMFF15YO twitter review of The Philadelphia Story:

 I know fashion was different and all but circus vest & sleeping cap?

Theresa, winner of TCMFF 2015; thanks everybody for 
playing along, better luck, next year
As we were coming out The Philadelphia Story. I ran into Theresa, my drinking buddy from Thursday and Friday nights. She was standing in at the front of the Marriage Italian Style of the Spotlight/VIP line with the Number 1 queue number. Now, Marriage Italian Style with a Ben Mankiewicz interviewing of Sofia Loren was probably the hottest screening of the 2015 TCMFF. Though my opinion is technically nonbinding, I declared Theresa (@CineMava) winner of the 2015 TCM Classic Film Festival. 

While waiting in line for Marriage Italian Style, we ran into Rob and Val from Calgary which made our first and only husband and wife as well as our first and only international video:

I've probably mentioned this before. I'm not real big on celebrity. Yes, there are a few celebrities I would like to meet, but there aren't very many I would go out of my way for. That said, getting to see Sofia Loren in person, that's something I felt like I had to take advantage of. She's a great actress and has to be the hottest 80-year-old on the planet. If anyone disputes that, I want proof.

TCM's own Genevieve  McGillicuddy and Sofia Loren. 
™ & © 2015 Turner Classic Movies. A Time Warner
Company. All Rights Reserved. Used with permission. 

Yes, that is an 80-year-old woman's butt.
Don't judge me.
I guess my only regret is that even though I brought the good camera, the digital SLR, I got relatively poor results, which sadly is true of most of the pictures I took of the speakers at the screenings throughout TCMFF. I know that there is probably some setting that would have given me better results in low light, but whatever it is, it's not full auto with no flash. Of all the pictures that we took, the two I like the best are those on the left that Jasmine took with my phone as Sofia Loren was walking off the stage at the end of the interview.

What I mostly remember from the interview itself was her talking about winning the Oscar for Two Women. She thought it was an honor just to be nominated, but she really didn't expect to win, because no one had ever won an Oscar for a foreign-language film. Thus, she stayed in Rome. She also joked that if she won the award, she would faint, and if she fainted in Rome, no one would see it. The night of the awards she tried to stay awake for it, but eventually decided to go to bed. As soon as she decided to go to bed, the phone rang. It was Cary Grant telling her she won.

The other thing that stands out from the interview is that when it came time to talk specifically about Marriage Italian Style, she used the term dramedy and said her son told her to write it down. I was just watching a youtube video of the interview and looking at it, I think she wrote the word, dramedy, on the palm of her hand. Just the thought of this incredible woman, writing a cheat note on her hand is kind of funny and cool. 

The main reason I bring it up is that it's the perfect segue into the film itself. Now, when I think of a dramedy, a dramatic comedy, I think of maybe, The Apartment,  a comedy that centers on a dramatic subject or As Good as It Gets, a drama that has funny bits.  Marriage Italian Style took a completely different approach. The first about two thirds of the movie is a drama. Then at a certain point, it turns into a farce. Oddly, it works, mostly because it does both things very well. 

Jasmine's #TCMFF15YO twitter review of Marriage Italian Style:

Note to self, fake death to get a husband

After the screening, Jasmine would have been fine just calling it a night, but I told her she needed to come down an say goodbye to people. You never know if people are going to be scattered to the four winds in the morning. She came down for about a half hour and then went back to the room.

For me, the closing party is a big highlight of TCMFF, just being able to hang out with people, have a drink, and talk. I know that I missed Miguel (@HIFFSD). He was in another part of the lobby recording a podcast, which I would have loved to jump in on. I'm not even going to attempt to remember who all I talked to or met that night. I know I'll miss people. For the most part I'm going to let the pictures do the talking.

TCM Social Media Producers, me, Ariel, Kendra (@kendrajbean)
Jeff (@jlundenberger), and Kim (@Kimbo3200)

Ed, me, Anne from the Film Noir Foundation (@AnneHockens),
Ariel, and Jeff; the guy behind behind Anne and Ariel is Peter
(@PeterAPeel), and the photo bomber way back is Trevor (@tpjost).

Me, Ariel, and Kim
I love the closing night party, but they really do need to keep the Club TCM open later. Umm, TCM? Do you have a second for a little chat? Closing at midnight? Really? I mean midnight, we still have a lot of serious drinking to do. In particular, most nights if you go to the late screening, by the time you get back to the hotel, it's already closed. I know it's probably a hotel contract thing, but this is a social event. And you've dedicated space to gather socially, yet it closes before most people can make it back there. In particular, Sunday night, when people have arranged travel plans so they don't have to get up early.... Not that I have a huge problem moving to the lobby, but I think for a lot of people, when you close, the implication is that it's over. One of the best things about TCMFF is the social aspect, and closing Club TCM early dampens that. Just sayin'.

I ended up hanging out most of the night with Ariel and her friend, Anne. Ariel was kind of down and not just the normal TCMFF post partum. She's looking for work. Her training's in film restoration, but at this point, she'll consider other areas, so if anyone in the L.A. area knows of anything.... She's smart and and funny, and I'm sure she'd pick up whatever quickly.  

Despite this, Ariel was fun to hang out with and had great stories, from seeing her grandmother (Irene Tedrow) in The Cincinnati Kid at this year's TCMFF to stuff that happened at Comic-Con. She mentioned in passing that she has her bras made by Jeanette Goldstein, the woman who played Vasquez in Aliens. Unfortunately, I didn't press her on the details, which is odd, because it has just about everything I'm looking for in a story, bras, boobs, and the woman who played Vasquez in Aliens. 

I remember seeing something from Will (@willmckinley), saying that we got kicked out of the lobby really late. I honestly don't remember anyone telling us we had to go, but I had been drinking Old Rasputin, this really strong Russian Imperial Stout most of the night, so I probably didn't notice. I know that Ariel, Anne, and I ended up getting food super late at 25 Degrees in the Roosevelt lobby and talked for quite a while sitting there. I know it was some time around four when they got a cab, and I called it a night. All in all, it was a great time.

Me and Ariel

Thursday, April 16, 2015

TCMFF 2015 – Day 3

TCMFF 2015 – Day 2 post 

Saturday at the TCM Classic Film Festival (TCMFF) started with the Social Media Producers meeting. Noralil and Shannon from TCM were kind of giddy about how well things were going. #TCMFF had been trending most of the day Friday, a first for both the Festival and the brand, TCM. I'd like to think that it was just the Social Media Producers, but it was everybody at TCMFF just being happy to be there and sharing their jubilation with the world.

I had decided that we should do the Conversation with Norman Lloyd. It didn't start until 10 o'clock, so I figured we had time to go over to the TCL Chinese and do an interview. We ran into Heather in the standby line. I had her explain how standby at TCMFF worked, and of course, the standard what is your favorite thing, but I also asked her if she could time travel, what she would bring back to appear at the festival. Her answer was just astonishing.

Ceiling in Hollywood and Vine Metro station
Next up, we had to make it over to The Montalbán Theatre for A Conversation with Norman Lloyd. Since Jasmine and I were already pretty familiar with L.A. Metro system, we figured we could grab the subway for the one quick stop to Hollywood and Vine. The train wasn't crowded and probably a third of the people in the car we got on were other TCMFF folks doing the same thing we were. We ended up walking group of Festival people, getting lost for a block, and then ultimately finding the theater without too much trouble.

We took seats on the side about two or three rows back. Before long, Sean Cameron from TCM came out to do the television thing. He explained that what you see on television isn't exactly what happens when they are doing the interview. He wanted to get various crowd reaction shots. Applause, standing ovation, but a slow standing ovation, two or three people stand up and then more and more, that sort of thing. "Now, a chuckle." 'Now, big laugh." "Now, a really big laugh." "Okay, how about, I can't believe he just said that." Oddly enough, it worked. You would think the laughter would come out forced and fake, but with that many people, within a second or two, it turned into real laughter.

Sean Cameron, Ben Mankiewicz and Norman Lloyd 
backstage at the Conversation with Norman Lloyd event.
Photographer: Edward M. Pio Roda. ™ & © 2015
Turner Classic Movies. A Time Warner Company.
All Rights Reserved. Used with permission.
The interview itself was incredible. Norman Lloyd has had such an interesting life, and he was so sharp. He remembered addresses of theaters he worked at in the early 1930s. He would go off on a tangent but still remember to come back to the original question. I can't even do that now. Just tons of great stories on everything from the practical jokes that Alfred Hitchcock used to pull in elevators to how Charlie Chaplin ate a grapefruit to a Jamaican rapper he worked with on this summer's, Trainwreck to a pantomime of how he did the fall from the Statue of Liberty in Sabotuer

I didn't realize it but he had been "gray listed" in the early-1950s. He wasn't really on the black list, but he had worked in theater in New York in the 1930s. A lot of the theater people in those days were very left wing, not necessarily Communist or Socialist, but left wing. In the early 1950s, association with left wing theater people from 15 or 20 years earlier was enough to throw a shadow. As a result, he couldn't get work in Hollywood. When Hitchcock was producing the Alfred Hitchcock Presents TV show, he had a producer working for him who had way too much work, and Hitch wanted to hire Norman Lloyd. The people at CBS said, "There's a problem with Norman Lloyd." That's how they said it in those days. Not that he was on the blacklist or a Communist, but there's a problem with him. He explained that Alfred Hitchcock had always been apolitical and at that point was at the height of his power in Hollywood. Hitchcock told the people at CBS [Lloyd said this in an Alfred Hitchcock voice], "I want him." And that's what it took to get him working again.

Ben Mankiewicz and Norman Lloyd at the Montalban
Theatre.Photographer: Edward M. Pio Roda
™ & © 2015 Turner Classic Movies. A Time Warner
Company. All Rights Reserved. Used with permission.
Probably my favorite story was one that he told about 1926 World Series. His uncle was a bootlegger and took him to the game. They went up to the gate and asked about tickets.The man at the gate said, there were no tickets. The game was completely sold out. His uncle took out a wad of bills, and the man at the gate said, you can go in. When they got into the ballpark, there was nowhere to sit, so they went and sat down on the steps in one of the aisles. The usher came up and said, "You can't sit here." Out comes the wad of bills, "You can sit here." During the game, Babe Ruth hit a double and had to slide into second. Now, it was pretty unusual to see Babe Ruth slide. He didn't have to do it very often. When he slid, he ripped he his trousers. Now most people, Lloyd explained, would just go into the clubhouse and change. Not the Babe. He just stood there on second base with his hands on his hips posing like Superman. Lloyd stood up to demonstrate. The trainer came out with a bag and a needle and thread and sewed up his trousers, right there at second base.

We all erupted into laughter. Afterwards, Ben Mankiewicz had the perfect capper to that story, "My favorite thing about the story," he said, "is that you still remember the trainer's name from the 1926 World Series."

At the very end of the interview, they turned the chairs around and wanted to get a shot with the audience in the background. The makeup woman, an attractive woman in her mid-20s came out. She looked at Norman Lloyd's makeup and adjusted the lapel on his jacket to make sure it was laying down properly. Lloyd said to her, "I wish you were taking that off." One hundred years old and still making passes at women. I have a new hero. 

On the way out of the theater, we spoke to Frances whom I'd met last year. Among other things, I asked who had a cooler movie death, William Holden in Sunset Blvd. or Paul Newman in Cool Hand Luke. I really like her response.

On our little jaunt down Hollywood Blvd. on Wednesday afternoon, we had noticed a Popeye's Chicken, one of Jasmine's favorite fast food restaurants. She wanted to go there, and we had plenty time to get back for the next screening. It dawns on me that this would make two hot meals on two consecutive days. That must be some kind of TCMFF record. While we were eating, I asked what Jasmine thought of Norman Lloyd for her #TCMFF15YO review:

Dude, he was freakin Rad I want to take him out to a nice dinner

Back at the TCL Chinese, I had a chance to record one of the #HeartMovies videos. I couldn't figure out how to embed it, but you can click on it below:

My #HeartMovies video

We also caught up with Paula Guthat, whom we'd tried and failed to get decent video of earlier. Paula runs an independent theater called Cinema Detroit and is the founder and cohost of the #TCMParty Twitter group. She also was a TCM Guest Programmer on Scype with Ben Mankliewicz back in November. We captured the following video of Paula. [By the way, I really love the preview image on the video; it looks like she said something really shocking]:

Doing my best James Dean, umm, if James
Dean was middle-aged. And bald. And fat.
Oh, never freaking mind.
Next up was Rebel Without a Cause. I picked this one for Jasmine's sake, as it was one of the only films that spoke to teenagers. I had never seen it on the big screen and I thought it was brilliant. The emotions it brought up really caught me of guard. I always thought it was a great movie but I hadn't expected it to hit me that hard. Jasmine was floored as well. Her response to this was easily my favorite of the weekend. She can be very snarky and very funny, but she's really at her best when she's just reacting from the heart.

Jasmine's #TCMFF15YO twitter review of Rebel Without a Cause:

Let's get one thing straight I'm not crying, I'm sweating from my eyes

This was the one tweet that the @tcmfilmfest Twitter account retweeted, so that was pretty cool.

We ended up going back to the hotel wanted after that. I wanted to change into a shirt and a vintage time for the evening. I'm sure that Jasmine was thinking, hey, I'm the girl, shouldn't I be the one changing clothes all the time. Anywho, I wanted to get back fairly quick. The next screening was The Apartment with Shirley MacLaine. I knew it was a big theater, but I still figured we should try to get there extra early. Since we were getting there so early, I thought it would be easier to go in through the front. It turns out that the line wound all the way through the mall and came out by that back of the mall. It would've been way faster to go the back way we usually went. We ended up getting queue numbers in the low 400s, the highest of the entire weekend. 

In line, we spoke to Kristen, a veteran of all six TCM Film Festivals. She is one of the people who surprised me. If you've been watching the videos, you'll know that I have been asking odd classic film questions. For Kristen, I asked who would win in a drinking contest, Nick Charles or Auntie Mame.

The screening of The Apartment was our first time in inside the TCL Chinese this year, and just being inside the theater is a treat.

Ceiling of the Chinese Theater

A Conversation with Shirley MacLaine and
Leonard Maltin at Club TCM (from Sunday).
Photographer: Tyler Golden. ™ & © 2015
Turner Classic Movies. A Time Warner
Company. All Rights Reserved. Used
with permission.
Leonard Maltin did the interview with Shirley MacLaine preceding the film. The conversation mostly centered on The Apartment. She and Jack Lemmon signed on to do the movie after reading only the first 29 pages of the script, so neither one of them knew how the movie was going to end. Easily the biggest laugh in the interview was when MacLaine said that Fred MacMurray never picked up a check. She also said that when, you were working with Billy Wilder, you knew you always had to stick to the script. In The Apartment, she and Jack Lemmon had such good chemistry just hanging around together between takes. Things that they would talk about, ended up in the script. For example, when they were filming, MacLaine was spending a lot of her free time hanging out with the guys in the Rat Pack. She mentioned that one weekend that the guys were teaching her how to play gin rummy and that's how the gin rummy game made it into the movie. 

For me, Billy Wilder can really do no wrong. I love The Apartment and seeing it in the Chinese theater was a huge treat. I laughed. I cried. Everything you would expect. For Jasmine, I think she was confused by the movie. Not that she didn't get it or didn't understand the movie. She's a very smart girl and she picks up everything, but it's kind of an odd movie. It's presented as this light-hearted romp, but at it's core, it's really almost a tragedy. Yes, it's a love story, but it's all wrapped up in heart-break and betrayal and suicide. I seem to remember, not knowing what to think when I saw it the first time, myself. But everytime I've seen it since, that has bothered me less. And now, when I see that the love story emerging from the trainwreck of a situation they are in, it has more and more power. I have a feeling that Jasmine will grow to love The Apartment as I have.

When we got out, we immediately went and got a queue number for The Return of the Hand-Cranked Dream Machine. I didn't want to take any chances. Then, I asked Jasmine what her review of The Apartment would be. Her first thought was absolutely hilarious, but way over the top, something you would never expect to come out of the mouth of a 15-year-old. I tried to get her to come up with something else, but nothing she said was anywhere near as good as the first one. Still, I figured if we used it, Noralil from TCM would kill me. Still, it was just too good not to use.

Jasmine's #TCMFF15YO twitter review of The Apartment:

Find it interesting that Mr Baxter gets sloppy seconds in his own bed

I still wasn't sure whether sending that out was a good idea, funny as it was. The next day when I talked to Noralil, she said she thought it was hilarious, though officially she had to pretend she didn't notice it.

During the break after The Apartment, we got a great video with Deborah from L.A. She had the coolest reason for liking, Inherit the Wind

We got in line for The Return of the Dream Machine: Hand-Cranked Films from 1902-1913. The one thing I remember here is that Jasmine said that she couldn't believe that it was all going to be over tomorrow, and that she was going to be so sad. This meant two things to me. First, she was really having good time, and second, she was already anticipating the TCMFF postpartum blues that we all go through. It made me so proud. So proud, in fact, that I had to mess with her. I gave her the Gooble Gobble Gooble Gobble One of Us One of Us treatment. Even though she has never seen Freaks, she was properly freaked out. Scared is better than sad, right? Right?

Joe Rinaudo and his wonderful contraption
We went inside and found seats. The projector for The Return of the Dream Machine, was just a masterpiece of early 20th Century engineering. I could have spent an hour just looking at it, and the fact that this machine that was able to entertain audiences in the early 1900s could still do so now more than a hundred years later was amazing. Before the screening a bunch of people crowded around the back row to get pictures of the projector. I ended up getting much better results at the end of the show as the crowd was leaving. I was also able to get a business card. Gaslight Gathering, a steampunk convention I volunteer for, is doing a Hollywood theme for this September's con. This guy would be perfect if we could arrange it.

While we were waiting, one of our fellow Social Media Producers, Nora (@NitrateDiva) posted a picture of the program for the screening:

The screenings themselves were very cool. The way the projector worked you could see a shadow of the projectionists arm on the wall to the right of the screen as he cranked the machine. In the intro, they mentioned that often the projectionist controlled the pacing, cranking faster on on action shots and slower on emotional ones. Since everything on the program was a short film, they had to change reels a lot. When they did so, they projected vintage lantern show slides on the screen, which was cool and probably typical of what they would have done back when. I think going in I was most looking forward to Méliès' A Trip to the Moon, but I think Those Awful Hats and The Dancing Pig were the most entertaining of the bunch. 

I decided I should go back and rewatch A Corner in Wheat and Suspense on youtube. These were films that I really was having trouble keeping up with. I was just so tired, that I kept nodding off for what I thought was probably only a second or two, but kept doing so every couple of minutes. I just couldn't follow what was going on, more out of my own exhaustion than any issue with the films. I just rewatched Suspense in the middle of writing this. It's very cool. It just might have been more that a second or two that I fell asleep.

Because it was so hot at TCMFF this year, everybody was harping on staying hydrated. That wasn't my problem I needed to stay caffeinated. I drink coffee all day at work until about five o:clock, and it dawned on me that most of the time at TCMFF, I had a cup of coffee in the morning and nothing else for the rest of the day. I now know that I was running on a severe caffeine deficit as well as a sleep deficit. Obviously, there was no way I was going to make it through the midnight movie. I think for next year I should plan on having a bottle of Frappacino right before the late screening to carry me through. Hopefully, it doesn't backfire have me unable to sleep and staring at the ceiling at four in the morning.

The last film was an unannounced surprise, the Lumière Brothers, The Serpentine Dance. It was a beautiful tinted print and so cool to watch, the perfect capper for the evening and the hand-cranked screenings. It also prompted Jasmine's review.

Jasmine's #TCMFF15YO twitter review of The Return of the Dream Machine: Hand-Cranked Films from 1902-1913:

Great to see development of old films + Serpentine Dance way better than twerking

After the hand-cranked dream machine, we had a shift of social media monitoring. All of the Social Media Producers were required to do four half-hour shifts of social media monitoring over the course of the festival. Since it was so late, we decided to just go to the room and do it from there (another reason it was great being at The Roosevelt). This really came down to looking at Twitter and Tumblr, answering questions if you could or directing people to TCM info desk if not. I did see a tweet from Gordon (@ElBicho_CS)  about the bass in TCL Theater 1 being too high, so I forwarded it on to my TCM contacts. IT was definitely too late the help that night, but maybe it might have been useful the next day. A lot of social media monitoring just came down to looking at what was being said with the #TCMFF hashtag. If it was something cool, retweet it, or reply with, this is awesome. In my mind, a lot of it was joining in on the conversation and doing your best to keep it going.

I'm sure I ended up going to the Roosevelt bar for a beer very very late, but I think I just sat and tried to upload videos and ignore the text messages that Verizon kept sending me about how much bandwidth I was using.


TCM Boutique at the Roosevelt Hotel. The happy customer 
is Social Media Producer Annmarie (@ClassicMovieHub).

Photographer: Adam Rose. ™ & © 2015 Turner Classic 

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Used with permission.